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Picture perfect . . . Timaru photographer Brian High with his new book that captures the Timaru district at its best. PHOTO: AORAKI DEVELOPMENT

by Claire Allison

Brian High wanted to capture the Timaru district at its best, and he says he has given it his best shot.

Mr High has just produced a 112-page pictorial essay of the district, including scenes in Timaru, Temuka, Geraldine and Pleasant Point.

The book features streetscapes, seascapes, landscapes, and people living and playing in the district. Some images have been taken specifically for this book, others are from his accumulation of photographs, but they are mostly contemporary, capturing the district as it is now.

Mr High is more than familiar with the area; apart from spending 13 years away working in London, Paris, New York and Auckland, he has lived here all his life, and brings that local knowledge into play when capturing the right light at the right time.

But he also challenges himself to look at things with new eyes, to wander around Timaru like a visitor might.

“You can lose sight of what’s right in front of you because it’s so familiar, so it’s a matter of looking at it fresh and trying to see something new in it. I do that all the time, and then you don’t see what you’ve seen before, you see something else.”

Mr High is always chasing the light, finding the right time of the day, whether that is 5am, or just as the sun is setting, or the clouds are breaking.

“Some shots, you have to go back for several days before you get the right one.”

Aoraki Development and the Timaru District Council have come on board, and copies of the book are available at $40 each at Aoraki Development’s offices in Sefton St.

Mr High has also given both organisations free use of all the images for promotional purposes for a 12-month period.

“Part of the motivation for doing that is that for a long time Timaru has been promoted with imagery that seems not to be Timaru looking at its best. So it’s a gift from me to the district. It’s been a labour of love, because I really do love this area.”

Aoraki Development operations manager Di Hay said the organisation was pleased to have the opportunity to support the book, and the office had already fielded inquiries from people interested in buying a copy.

“People may want them to send overseas as gifts, or give to visitors here, or to guest speakers, anything that’s particular to the Timaru district. It’s a collection of absolutely stunning photographs, and it’s limited edition.”